Sunday, February 13, 2011

War Stories....

This afternoon Larry and I played Valentine fairies to the generation above us.  We went to see his parents, and two 90 year old friends of my mother.  One is a British lady who got to telling stories from World War II.  It was so much fun to listen to her! 
She told of rationing and how they were given two walnut sized pats of butter for the week...might have been month!  Her suitor, who was an American GI brought her mother 2 lb of butter to impress her.  He said he had been saving it in the closet.  When he left, the mother said, "I am going to throw this butter out!"  She asked why and mother said "because he had it in the closet around all those men!"  "Closet" in England meant "water closet"...meaning outhouse...ha! 
She went on to tell what the air raids were like and how people got used to them so sometimes did not hurry.  She had a girl friend who set her hair in 50 little rollers to curl her hair at night.  If a siren went off, she took all the rollers out, combed her hair and then left.  When she got home, she re-set her hair all over again.  One day she came into work very tired.  Co-workers asked why?  She said the sirens had gone off 5 times the night before and she had to re-do her hair each time!
Another story was how black-outs affected them.  They had to have blackout drapes and if any glimpse of light escaped at night, an officer came around and tapped on their door to tell them "lights out!"  There were of course no street lights on and head lights on cars had to have paperover them with only a small pin hole to see where they were going.  Same went for the rare flash lights.  Walks to and from places at night had to be done by "braille" of sorts.  One foot was on the curb and one in the street with the route memorized.  On a very dark night, she went out and unaware of a pole, ran into it leaving a goosebump on her head the next day.  They hated full moons because more could be seen of towns and the countryside.  Thus when air-raids happened toward the end of the war, large balloons were launched to cause confusion to enemy planes. 

There were many more stories and I found all fascinating.  What gems we have that we may never again when we listen to those older than us!!

24 comments:

Kim said...

I agree. It is fascinating to listen to the older folks tell their stories. My grandfather had 7 brothers and whenever they got together when I was a child I was glued to them. Even cartoons couldn't lure me away from listening to their tales.

Stacy Crawford said...

I love the old stories too. I could listen to grandparents for hours when they get to reminicing. I'm glad you posted this!

Julia said...

Donna, what a kind thing to do.
In her later years before my mom died, she had written down all kind of stories of her youth and throughout 66 years of marriage to my dad, raising 17 children. There are many volumes of interesting stories to read, some sad, some funny and hilirous and some very serious but all very entertaining,and we are so glad that she left us with those precious memories.

There is so much we can learn about the perseverance and ssacrifices that they had to put up with and still be able to live life to the fullest.

I enjoyed reading your blog this evening.

Happy Valentine Day. JB

Hope said...

Can't imagine having to deal with that time in history.
I have this thirst to hear everyones stories.
Amazing stories and thank you for sharing them, Donna

acorn hollow said...

I agree I wish I could ask my grandfather so many more questions.
even my mom I wish I had paid closer attention.
happy valentines day
Cathy

becky said...

Everyone has a story and it's always a good thing to draw them out...and, oh, how they love to tell them! I'm sure your visit was as wonderful for them as it was for you, Donna.
Happpy Valentine's Day, my friend.

saltbox treasures said...

I would enjoy these stories as well. What a time it must have been. We are so blessed to live now. I would have thrown out the butter too :).
Hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day! I enjoy and appreciate your visits and comments.
~ Julie

Farm Girl said...

Those are just awesome stories. I could sit and read about that stuff all day. What a bit of history. Imagine setting your hair.
Thank you for you sweet comments. I hope you have a lovely day.

mollygolver said...

it's so good when these stories are shared, Donna. Once the old folk pass on all these little snippets of history are lost forever. Loved the stories. Thank you for posting.

Sue said...

Thanks for sharing these, Donna. I find stories of WWII especially fascinating, and these were great examples.

=)

Jennifer said...

What a delightful day you had...i love to hear old stories...My Mom & I spent the day visiting her brother and his wife. My uncle is dying from brain cancer...the visit cheers up my aunt & we really dont know how much my uncle understands...so hard...

rosaria said...

Yes, stories will die with our seniors if nobody listens. Have a Happy V Day.

Melissa Miller said...

Fascinating story Donna. That is amazing.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

Couldn't agree more. When my hubby was a P.A. in family practice, he also managed the care of 100 nursing home patients. He always had a story to tell us every day. We could hardly wait to hear the stories around the dinner table. It's sad to think of all those stories sitting around and never being heard. Thanks for the reminder!
Hope you are having a great Valentine's Day!

Judy said...

Donna, thank you for your lovely comments you always leave on my blog. Every time I see your name, I get excited to see you've dropped by!

Hope you've had a great Valentine's Day!

Judy

karen said...

I love those old stories of a world so much different than ours. I love to listen to my grandmother tell stories about her childhood and all the fun they had. My dad also had some great stories to tell about growing up in the 1930s. I agree - these folks are such a treasure!

yaya said...

Almost missed this post! You are really kind to go visit everyone..but what treasures those stories are and unfortunately they will be gone if not written down. How hard to have lived that scary life, but that was what made them the "greatest generation".

Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan said...

What a wonderful way to share valentines day. There is so much to be learned and shared. I really enjoyed this post.
Big hugs!

A Tale of Two Cities said...

What a gift to you to be able to hear their stories, but I imagine the bigger gift here was just you taking the time to listen. It's such a little thing for us to do for seniors in their twilight days, but so valued, from what I see.

I too, find the period of the Blitz and what daily life was like to be fascinating. I would have wanted to hear all the details.

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Thanks for introducing us to your mother--she was a lovely lady and it looks like you were both blessed to have each other.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Us old people often have a lot to say but rarely do we find anyone that will take the time to listen :-(

God Bless You

~Ron

Beth Dunn said...

Oh my gosh, the closet. that is so funny! I love stories.
xoxo
SC

Jennifer said...

Hi Donna...thanks for stopping by...we had a fun Valentine's Day...Clara,2, is coming tomorrow for 3 days at our house...looking forward to lots of hugs & story time and dressup...Amy said she got ahold of one of her lipsticks the other day...and put it all over her body...should be fun...

Darlene said...

Yes, I remember the days of rationing and of drapes that darkened all the windows. I lived in the Bay area of California and right near the shipyards, so we had to be really careful to observe the blackouts. I also remember the rationing. Whenever we would see a line, we would stop and get in it because even if you didn't really want or need what they were selling, you could always trade it for something else you wanted. Trading of food and gas stamps went on a lot too. We used to trade our cigarette stamps for meat stamps. What a different life it was and how happy we were to see the war end.

Do you know that in 50 years your grandchildren and great grandchilden will be just as eager and wanting to read about things that are happening right here and now. That is why it is so important for all of you to write down your history as you go and tell the stories of your youth and adulthood. They will always be of interest to all those who come after you. I just wish my father had thought to write a bit of his youth in Sweden. He died when I was ten and I don't have a shred of history from him. Thankfully, my mom wrote a short history and I'm just grateful we have that. Our lives will be of great interest to our great grandchildren, just as we love to hear the stories from old people who love to talk about their experiences.

I loved this post. It was an important one, I think.